Local garment manufacturers have demanded fair prices from their US consumers and encouraged the US government to reduce tariffs on garments produced from Bangladesh.
The president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Faruque Hassan, emphasised the importance of a smoother and more sustainable supply chain and sourcing.
He also urged that purchasers limit the number of audits performed on facilities in order to lower the costs borne by plant owners.
The US suspended the generalised system of preferences (GSPF) for Bangladesh in June 2013, two months after the collapse of Rana Plaza. Dhaka has been calling for the restoration of the trade facility. The US is a major destination for RMG exports from Bangladesh, with the annual shipment standing at around $6 billion. Garment makers say their operational costs have gone up, so they are demanding fair prices and a reduction in tariffs. BGMEA chief Hassan highlighted the initiatives taken by the government and the trade body to sustain workplace safety and promote the rights and welfare of the garment workers.
He briefed the participants about the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to the garment industry. William Jackson, assistant USTR for textiles, and Maureen Haggard, director for democracy, human rights and labour of the US Department of State also attended the roundtable.